New Xenaland
 
North of Bethells
 



The beaches north of the Waitakere River have been very little used by Xena or Hercules. The land above the cliff tops, with its views over the ocean, has been used, but it's all private.

From Waitakere Bay at the north end of Bethells Beach, a slight climb over a sandy rise at the neck of neck of the penisula of Erangi Point leads to O'Neill Bay.

Further to the north, the coast is rocky, and such small beaches as there are are inaccessible except by boat. A public walkway runs along the cliffs, from O'Neill Bay to Bartrum Bay, closed north of Jonkers Rock from August 1st to October 1st for lambing. There's not much can be seen of Xena interest north of that point anyway, since the clifftop land is way above the public path. However, it makes an interesting but strenuous walk with some great scenery. If walking from one end to the other (and if you can arrange transport) then it's best heading south. Heading north, the big climb out of O'Neill and the big climb up to Constable Road right at the end are killers for anyone as unfit as the staff of this site. Heading south, it's delightful to drop down to O'Neill and walk along the sea's edge to reach Bethells.

So far as we can tell, RenPics never used O'Neill Bay beach itself. We earlier credited (wrongly) the opening shot of The Apple where Hercules was lying on the sand watching Iolaus surfing, with O'Neill Bay cliffs behind - but further examination of that scene shows it was on Bethells Beach with the O'Neill cliffs in long shot, beyond the low ridge joining Erangi Point to the mainland.

The clifftops around O'Neill Bay were rather more used. Directly east of Tangihau Point, is the clifftop Xena runs along in the title sequence (and also in Gabrielle's Hope). The cliff slope down to the beach is, so far as we know, public land, but all the flat land above the cliffs is, as we said, private. Please don't climb over the fences and trespass. (Renpics cheated. They went up the easy way, up a farm track. But then, they were allowed.)
 

If anybody says 'just one more take', they die!
A shot from Gabrielle's Hope Looking over Erangi Point from the clifftop

 

Climbing up the walkway from O'Neill Bay to the clifftop above Tangihau Point gives excellent views over Bethells Beach and right down the coast to the south. On the clifftop directly north of Tangihau Point is where the gods Athena, Hades and Hephaestus stood after they blitzed Xena's wagon in Looking Death in the Eye. They were in fact looking south, completely the wrong direction, until someone turned them round in post-production, but then they never were very bright.
 

Funny, I could have sworn it went down there somewhere Duh, which way is north?
O'Neill Bay with Bethells beyond
The Gods surveying their handiwork
... after TPTB pointed them in the right direction

Athena's archers also bit the dust at about this point, and Antigone used this spot to launch a wagon off the cliff in Rebel With a Cause.
 

Which one's the brake pedal?
Lying down on the job again? So would you if you'd just run up this lot! The view from Antigone's wagon just before it flew

A little further west, just before the path starts descending towards Raetahinga Point, you can see along the coast to the north. Part of the outline may be familiar to you, the hump of land above Tirikohua Point and Oaia Island offshore were seen in the background from the Gablaunch site in Bitter Suite (but we'll come to that in a minute). Rather nearer, directly above Jonkers Rock on the map, is where Xena, not to be outdone by anyone on the Other Show, launched her own wagon over the cliff in Looking Death in the Eye.
 

Xena!  Are you sure you know how to drive this thing?
Xena hasn't quite mastered the art
of crosswind takeoffs yet
Looking north along the coast, with the headland
above Tirikohua Point in the middle of the picture

Beyond this point, if you want to walk it (and as we said, it's best done from the other end), the path follows, more or less, the 100-metre contour along the cliffs for several miles. The coastline is rugged, the scenery is bleak (or spectacular, take your choice) and there's no shelter or short-cut out if you run out of energy. Be warned.
 

Looking south over Kirikiri Bay
Raetahinga Point in the distance
Looking north from Tirikohua Point A strange piece of coastline just north
of Tirikohua Point

Raetahinga Point, seen in silhouette from the north, is the spot where Xena jumped off the cliff to hide her wedding certificate in Soul Possession.

After much intensive study of maps, we think the famous Gablaunch site is on the clifftop, above Kirikiri Bay, approximately where it says '194' on the map. This spot has been used also for the funeral pyre in the Herc episode Rebel With a Cause, and in a recent NZ car ad where a 'pied piper' Japanese car zips aside to send a stream of others plunging over the cliff. The farm which occupies most of the land above the cliffs seems to be rented out regularly for film making.
 

The view from the Gablaunch site. Note Oaia Island below in the distance Looking down over the 'waterfall' Where 'Xena' goes, 'Herc', as always, is not far behind
These views are taken from the walking track halfway up the cliff... ... which is as near as you can get... ... to the Gablaunch site above

However, if Xena really had thrown Gabrielle off the cliff at this point, she would have landed a few feet further down on a very steep slope covered in toetoe (sawgrass). (See picture at right above). In fact it's our contention that Gabrielle's battered appearance was not in fact makeup, but was in fact Take Two after Renee slipped on the first take and was retrieved from the bottom of the slope.
 
 

Two miles further to the north, at Maori Bay, was where Xena's wagon landed after it fell off the cliff in Looking Death in the Eye. It certainly flew a long way. The ubiquitous Oaia Island can be seen behind Xena and shows the location. This bay is reached via Muriwai, and is a popular surf beach overlooked by a number of houses. The black sand here is particularly black.
 

Lucy, like a good Kiwi, always picks up the litter ... and she did a good job
Oaia Island is prominent in the background
of this scene from
Looking Death in the Eye
.. and the real thing,
temporarily free from surfers
Seen from the road above
Gannet colony, top centre

Not far from here is Woodhill Forest, where many scenes were shot - see the Woodhill page for details.


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